If you look online there’s tons of information on how to run a successful blog and earn an income online. It doesn’t take much insight to realize that nearly all of the information on blogging comes from people trying to sell you their course or some other product, which raises logical questions as to whether the “success stories” they post are exceptions or norms.
I’m going to write about my experiences in trying to get this site off the ground and my attempts at monetizing. I have no previous blogging experience, and no background/education in professional writing. The hope is that this experience will capture a picture of what it’s like when the total average Joe tries blogging as a way to supplement income.
So to start, I want to give you an idea of where I’m at. I started the blog with two intents. One, I wanted to capture our family’s experience in all of our adventures so that we could have something to look back on years from now. I like the idea of passing along useful information to others that want to try something similar, but really my main focus in terms of content is to be able to have this as a bit of a family keepsake. I think it would be really cool for our daughters to read what we did together, struggles and successes, 20 years from now when they’re grown up and maybe even have kids of their own.
The other intent was to see if it was possible to earn a little spending money. If I could make a little extra cash doing something I enjoy and that really doesn’t take much time, that’s a nice perk in my books. The first goal is to have the website pay for itself. Then if I could eventually get to the point where I’m make a couple hundred a month working for a few hours, that would be sweet. I have no clue if that’s achievable.
So to date I’ve been doing the site for 5 months. I have a handful of posts, a few subscribers, about 25% of them are people I know, the rest are people that found my site in searches or from links from other websites. I currently average 500 views per month, and the trend is steadily increasing.
For 2 months I didn’t make any posts or even look at the website. That was intentional. I wanted to see if the website would hold up or if it was something that needed constant care and maintenance. I was surprised to find out that my average views actually slightly increased. To me that was a good sign that I had found a decent niche and that people were interested in what I’m writing about. I was still answering emails from readers, but nothing else. I currently average about 1 or 2 emails per week with questions about moving to Ecuador. It’s really not much to maintain, although some of my answers are long winded.
An average post for me is about 1000 to 1500 words and usually takes me about an hour to write. I get my wife to proofread them for me. That usually takes an extra 10 minutes. If it turns out that this is actually a way to earn a little extra income I would like to set aside 2 hours in my weekly schedule for blogging so that it’s consistent. That’s just my preference, I like schedules. I’ve also found that doing things like adding photos and links take a little longer, but even still I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 2 hours on a post to date.
I only made an attempt at monetizing a few days ago, and so far I haven’t earned a cent. To be honest, I was totally expecting that. I mostly wanted to see for myself what the monetizing process is like.
I chose to monetize through referrals and associate programs. I’m an Amazon Affiliate and I refer tutors to jobs teaching English. I can get a cut if someone signs up and/or works a certain amount. Through the Amazon Affiliates program I get a small percentage of the value of the sale if someone follows a link from my blog and buys a product. I didn’t want to put ads on my site, so these seem to be the most fitting ways of monetizing. Totally unproven concept, so we’ll see what happens. Again, I took no special online “courses”, I didn’t buy any books, etc on how to do this. I read some free online information and just tried it for myself.
In other posts I’ll get more into mistakes/lessons/advice etc on blogging, and as I go I’ll regularly give updates on whether the effort is working or not.
For now all I can really say is that I enjoy the work and I like having a written story of our family. And ever since I downloaded the WordPress app to my phone I’ve been able to blog from a park bench while watching my kids play. Not many other jobs let you do that 🙂